Q: Talk about Chauncey and the way he stepped up tonight, of course he's been in this position before a few years ago when you were coach of the Sixers, one game up.
Brown: You know, he plays great sometimes when he doesn't score. Tonight with Rip struggling, I thought Kobe and Kareem and a lot of them did a really good job of trying to take him away from us. We needed somebody to step up, and he really did. He really delivered. He took great shots for the most part. He took one bad one and I got on him, like I always do. But he defended his position, because, you know, Gary got in foul trouble and I thought that had an impact on the game, and maybe Chauncey being aggressive helped in that regard.
But when we don't have a lot of scoring options, it's not the players' fault; it's probably my fault because we are selective in what we call. But we needed somebody to step up when our primary scorer and Rasheed were in foul trouble, and he did that
Q: Are you even surprised by this?
Brown: Well, you know, to hold them to 75 points, I think is pretty incredible defensive performance. You know, we got in early foul trouble. Rasheed plays eight minutes the first half, and, you know, Rip struggled. But we played great. I don't know if we could ever defend better. We contested shots. We did an unbelievable job and I think that's what it's going to take.
Q: Can you talk about what you saw as far as the Tayshaun and Kobe matchup, and what Tayshaun was able to do against Kobe?
Billups: I tell you, people underestimate Tayshaun. He's really 6'9 and when he stretches those arms out, he's seven feet. His length bothers guys, and I think Kobe is the best one-on-one player in the game. You've just got to contest his shots and you've just got to try to make things tough on him. You have to trap him and change defenses, and I think Tayshaun did a great job of staying with him and contesting his shots, and he's the kind of player that's going to hit tough shots. He did that. Tonight he hit tough shots, but I thought Tay did a great job. He's had tough matchups the entire playoffs, with Desmond and Ron Artest and now Kobe. He's battled and I think he did a great, great job.
Q: This has to be a satisfying win for two reasons for you: You are booed by the L.A. fans, remember your Portland days, and then everybody seems to write you guys off before the first game, so what was the atmosphere in the locker room and it must be an enormous amount of satisfaction on the team's part?
Wallace: I mean, you know, we're excited or whatever, but can't get too excited. It's only one game. It's a race to four so we can't sit up here and get overzealous over one win. That's how teams lose. That's how you go out there in that second game and playing lackadaisical and you lose or fall apart. We just take it one game at a time.
Q: If I would have told you before the game that Shaquille OíNeal and Kobe Bryant would combine for 60 points and Richard Hamilton would have an off-night, would you have thought this would be a loss?
Wallace: Not really. We donít depend on no one guy to carry this team. We got guys that can step up. If we got a guy thatís struggling, weíve got other guys that can step up. We got guys that can come off the bench whoís capable of carrying the load. Thatís one thing about this team: We donít depend on one guy to carry us night in and night out. We all can just get out there and put forth a great effort.
Q: Why more than anything else did you guys win tonight?
Wallace: I think we defended. We played Shaq and Kobe honest. They got their numbers and we played everybody else honest. We didnít let the role players come out and just line up shots from the outside. We played everybody with a hand in their face.
Q: How did you use your length against Kobe?
Prince: For the most part I just tried to stay on the floor and once he got off the ground I got off the ground. He has a variety of moves and you just have to be prepared, but for the most part your teammates need to be in great position to be ready to help because he will get around you. Good thing I have some long arms to make him change his shot a little bit. This is only one game. I am going to expect something different in Game 2, so I will have to step my defense up.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
Q: Did the team come out too passive after the six-day layoff?
Jackson: I don't know if it's too passive. I think it was the pace that the Pistons generated during the course of the game. They were very deliberate. This was a team that, you know, brought the ball down with patience and executed what they wanted to do over a course of 24 seconds. They made each possession like a football possession.
I started harping on the players a little bit to start building a pace in the middle of the second quarter when I saw that things were getting lethargic. We tried to speed it up a little bit at the end of the second period and got things moving a little bit, but it all worked out I think in their favor. They got a couple of fast breaks at the end of the second period.
You could see the pace of that game or the development of the game in the third quarter, we came out flat in the third quarter and they established the lead with a 3-point shot and it was difficult for us to even find a way to get back to match in that quarter.
Q: I know after a late-season game last year, Billups wanted to make you throw up and had good games against you this year, why do you think he's had good success against the Lakers?
Jackson: He has good strength, physical strength, strong shoulders and can clear himself out of pick-and-roll situations. He seemed to handle the pressure well, he identified what he wanted to get on actions that the team was running at that time. And then if things were not going right for the team, pick his own spots.
Q: It seems like this team played with a cavalier attitude.
Malone: I look at a game like this and I didnít help Big (Shaq) and the guys at all. I think that the way I started the game ... I committed too early on defense. We talked about it. I had open looks and didnít make those and that got us out of rhythm as a team. Iím very disappointed in me because I didnít help the guys out at all. Thatís unacceptable as a professional athlete.
Q: But this club didnít seem to play with sense of urgency Ö
Malone: I think it starts with me. I really do. And as Iíve said it before, when I bring the energy, when Iím doing the things Iím suppose to be doing on the defensive end, I think they feed off of me. I didnít do that tonight.
Q: Are two players in double figures going to get it done?
Malone: Like I just told you, I didnít help us out at all.
Q: What reason do you think Fish and George and Mailman didn't get involved in the game? It just seemed like you and Shaq out there, they were not getting the open looks they usually get and it really showed in the statistics and everything that it was you and Shaq.
Bryant: You know, I think Detroit did a great job defensively mixing up their defenses and really not letting them get off in the past few series, we've been able to rely on throwing the ball in to Shaq, and teams coming down in double and he's able to kick it out and get other guys involved that way. This year we have to go deeper into our offense and we practice that every day. We have to be able to utilize the triangle and really cut guys up so that our teammates are not just threats as spot-ups, but they become, you know, really aggressive offensive threats off of penetration and cuts and things like that.
Q: Phil said that he you may have tired in the second half, did you get a little tired in the second half after the big first half?
O'Neal: Tired of waiting. We, you know, as a team, we really didn't come out with much energy. You know, we had a couple of lapses, especially there in the third quarter. I don't think a person going 13 for 16 is a sign of being tired by any means.
Q: Tell us, you guys have been in this position a few years ago against Philly, put any pressure on you for the next game?
O'Neal: It puts a lot of pressure on us for the next game. This is the type of team that comes out, they play aggressive defense, they play well. They just wanted it a little bit more than we wanted it tonight. Tonight we just came out a little bit too loose, too lackadaisical and nobody was trying to feel them out in the first half and got ourselves into a big hole with our lackadaisical play in the third quarter.